+
Crowd hushes for a blind basketball player to hear the basket—then goes wild when she makes it

Jules Hoogland heard the basket, then made her free throw shot to cheers from the crowd.

It's a common belief that disabilities make it impossible to do certain things. Sometimes that's true—but not nearly as often as people might assume. With the right support and accommodations, people with all manner of disabilities can participate in far more activities than society expects.

Take, for instance, a team sport like basketball. Can a person who can't see play that sport? How would they know where they are on the court? How would they know where to throw the ball or locate where the basket is? How could they keep track of where their teammates are and what they're doing?

Without a little imagination in answering them, those questions seem like they'd exclude blind people from being able to play basketball. However, when inclusion is the goal, human beings can figure out all kinds of ways to make the seemingly impossible happen.


High school basketball player Jules Hoogland is completely blind. As a junior at Zeeland East High School in Michigan, Hoogland plays on Zeeland's Unified Sports team made up of students with and without disabilities.

As she set up for a free throw, the crowd fell into a hush so Hoogland could hear the tapping of the basket so she could put the ball in the right spot. A fellow player ensured she was positioned for the shot, and Hoogland nailed it.

Watch:

Not only was it a great shot, it was an awesome example of what support and inclusion can look like from both a school and a community.

Unified Sports is a program by Special Olympics that promotes inclusion in sports by bringing people with and without intellectual or physical disabilities together to play on the same team. Unified Sports teams are made up of people of similar age and skill to create a level playing field and to make practices and games both challenging and fun.

The goal is not so much for those without disabilities to "help" those with; rather, it's a way to empower everyone to have fun together through sports. Teammates work together to play their personal and collective best for the good of the team.

According to Special Olympics, about 1.4 million people worldwide take part in Unified Sports. What a beautiful way for everyone to benefit from the fun and camaraderie sports can provide, and to provide a way for people of all abilities and disabilities to build bonds of friendship.

10/10. The Mayyas dance.

We can almost always expect to see amazing acts and rare skills on “America’s Got Talent.” But sometimes, we get even more than that.

The Mayyas, a Lebanese women’s dance troupe whose name means “proud walk of a lioness,” delivered a performance so mesmerizing that judge Simon Cowell called it the “best dance act” the show has ever seen, winning them an almost instant golden buzzer.

Perhaps this victory comes as no surprise, considering that the Mayyas had previously won “Arab’s Got Talent” in 2019 and competed on “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.” But truly, it’s what motivates them to take to the stage that’s remarkable.

“Lebanon is a very beautiful country, but we live a daily struggle," one of the dancers said to the judges just moments before their audition. Another explained, “being a dancer as a female Arab is not fully supported yet.”

Nadim Cherfan, the team’s choreographer, added that “Lebanon is not considered a place where you can build a career out of dancing, so it’s really hard, and harder for women.”

Still, Cherfan shared that it was a previous “AGT” star who inspired the Mayyas to defy the odds and audition anyway. Nightbirde, a breakout singer who also earned a golden buzzer before tragically passing away in February 2021 due to cancer, had told the audience, “You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” The dance team took the advice to heart.

For the Mayyas, coming onto the “AGT” stage became more than an audition opportunity. Getting emotional, one of the dancers declared that it was “our only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

5 easy ways to practice self care

Because taking care of yourself should never feel like a chore

Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life we forget the important things: like taking care of ourselves. While binge watching your favorite show and ordering take out can be just the treat-yourself-thing you need, your body might not always feel the same. So we’re bringing you 5 easy ways to practice self-care that both you and your body will thank us for.

Keep ReadingShow less
via Pexels

Three people engaged in conversation at a party.

There are some people who live under the illusion that everything they say is deeply interesting and have no problem wasting your time by rambling on and on without a sign of stopping. They’re the relative, neighbor or co-worker who can’t take a hint that the conversation is over.

Of all these people, the co-worker who can’t stop talking may be the most challenging because you see them every day in a professional setting that requires politeness.

There are many reasons that some people talk excessively. Therapist F. Diane Barth writes in Psychology Today that some people talk excessively because they don’t have the ability to process complex auditory signals, so they ramble on without recognizing the subtle cues others are sending.

It may also be a case of someone who thinks they’re the most interesting person in the conversation.

Keep ReadingShow less